Category: 4th Trip

Lockdown Life – How The Greatest Rock Climber in the Alps was Saved by the Hunter King & a Poacher

Alpine_ibex_monarch
‘The King of the Alps’, an Alpine ibex, assumes a ‘Monarch of the Glen’ pose on a grassy knoll near Staffal

We are now in our third month of lockdown in a tiny, deserted ski resort in Monte Rosa, Northern Italy.

One of the highlights of lockdown life has been wildlife sightings in deserted cities and boy, do I have a treat for you! Here in Staffal, Mother Nature has bestowed upon us some very rare and beautiful gifts. Continue reading “Lockdown Life – How The Greatest Rock Climber in the Alps was Saved by the Hunter King & a Poacher”

Our First Taste of Freedom on Star Wars Day!

millennium-falcon-1343464_640

Star Wars Day (May the Fourth Be With You!) had special significance for us this year.

It was the day that the coronavirus lockdown in Italy was relaxed to the extent that we are allowed to go Out-Out. As in Out Properly. On a jaunt. We can now walk and exercise outside and drive together in the car, so long as we stay within our own region. The sun even had the grace to shine upon our first day of freedom.

After being in lockdown since 8th March and unable to leave the house since 20th March, I had to resist the urge to drive all the way to Mont Blanc for no other reason than because we can!

Continue reading “Our First Taste of Freedom on Star Wars Day!”

Dogs in Barolo Wine Museum & A Template for a Long Lost Tattoo

Barolo_Castle_2
Castello Falletti, Barolo

“How does Mark decide on designs for his tattoos?” Another question that we’re often asked.

All of his tattoos have significance, but as with, “How do you decide where to go on your travels?” – it is a question with an equally convoluted answer. Continue reading “Dogs in Barolo Wine Museum & A Template for a Long Lost Tattoo”

A Dog-Friendly Wine Tour, Barolo, Italy

Wine_tour_Barolo_5
“Wine is the roar of the earth towards the sky” at Rocche dei Manzoni

Lovin’ the Langhe – Land of Wine, Hazlenuts & Truffles

“How do you plan where to go on your trips?”

A good question. It is one that we’re often asked, although, the answer is not straightforward. Continue reading “A Dog-Friendly Wine Tour, Barolo, Italy”

Barolo or Bust – Camping Sole Langhe, Vergne, Italy

Barolo 1
Ready to Roll in the Rain; Except, Houston; We Had a Problem!

A Lesson about Leccy & A Trauma in the Terroir

At 9pm, the gods turned a fire hose on us. The furious winds that had battered caravan Kismet all day gave way to torrential, hammering rain. The ferocity of the wind vindicated our decision to stay an extra day in Les Arbrets and avoid towing. (For advice on towing in wind, please see my blog To Tow or Not to Tow? – Is it Safe to Tow in High Winds?)

The following the morning, we were smothered by snuggly pups; perhaps scared by the rain still hammering on the roof. It made for a slower than intended start; Ruby gave us one of her little songs, then every time I tried to get up, she threw her paws around my neck and pushed me back down. Puppy love is impossible to resist!

In any case, it wasn’t the most alluring day to get outside. A swamp the size of The Everglades had formed around Kismet’s step, then, things improved markedly once we had squelched through it to pack everything away in the rain. For the first time in her life, Big Blue refused to start. Her battery was completely dead. Continue reading “Barolo or Bust – Camping Sole Langhe, Vergne, Italy”

Vents Violentes, The Beautiful Village & The Eternal Hill – Vézelay to Les Abrets, Isère, France

Vezelay 1
Atop its ‘Eternal Hill’ – the village of Vézelay, ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France.’

A wet morning gave way to a better afternoon – and the opportunity to explore the medieval streets of Vézelay, ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France.’ Continue reading “Vents Violentes, The Beautiful Village & The Eternal Hill – Vézelay to Les Abrets, Isère, France”

Wine & Wonder on a Wet Thursday – Noyers-sur-Serein, Bourgogne, France

Puppy_love
What to do on a wet Thursday in a caravan? Cuddle a puppy – or better still, cuddle TWO puppies!

Torrential rain thundered on the roof of the caravan and we were surrounded by wet laundry. It was supposed to be sunny! Nevertheless, our view across the rolling hills of Bourgogne was shrouded with mist and we felt surprisingly relaxed; comfy, cosy and snuggled up with a coffee and four warm, sleepy puppies.

The internet was dead. On the road, we tether our laptops to our mobiles to go online. The signal had been poor yesterday, but the rain ensured that both phones had zero service and the campsite’s free WiFi was completely dead. The tragedy of being cut off like this on a rainy Thursday was that I was unable to find a launderette to address our  mountain of steaming laundry. Continue reading “Wine & Wonder on a Wet Thursday – Noyers-sur-Serein, Bourgogne, France”